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Kendrick Lamar’s Ready To Take Over Rap’s Fourth Quarter

By / 07.21.14


Words By Ashan

“When I’m in the studio I’m looking for creativity I haven’t matched yet, a feeling I haven’t felt. It’s a high.”

As Top Dawg Entertainment pushes out its fourth out of six projects due out in 2014 with the release of Ab-Soul’s These Days in late June and Jay Rock’s new album on deck, all eyes are on Top Dawg’s top dog, Kendrick Lamar and where his sophomore effort will take him following his legendary debut with Good Kid M.A.A.D City.

This month, K. Dot can be seen covering the August/September issue of Complex as Associate Editor Insanul Ahmed sat down with Lamar, to figure out what the self-proclaimed “King of the Coast” has been up to these past two years, and what we should be expecting from him in the future.

Below are some highlights from the lengthy piece as the two discuss Kendrick’s new project, Lamar’s relationship with Macklemore and Jay Rock’s upcoming album among other topics. Ahmed follows Kendrick around the studio throughout the brunt of the story, as the Compton MC is preparing to record his guest verses for Jay Rock’s new album.

Rather than your standard magazine interview, Ahmed is able to paint an encompassing picture of Kendrick Lamar and his personality as one of the more soft-spoken, yet most profound icons in rap right now.

On his sophomore effort:

“He’s been working primarily with TDE’s in-house producers, Tae Beats and Sounwave of Digi+Phonics, but has also gotten in the studio with Dr. Dre. He’s still just “getting his ideas down,” but so far Kendrick’s recorded 30 to 40 new songs for the album (he recorded 60 to 70 songs for GKMC). He says he’ll be ready for a fourth quarter release.

“’If I keep focusing on, ‘I need to make something better than good kid,’ it’s going to be just that,’ says Kendrick. “That’s not challenging yourself. I don’t want to become that person reflecting on what has been done. What I’m doing now is the question. I’m only as good as my last word, my last hook, my last bridge.'”

Nas on Kendrick living up to the hype:

“’Kendrick shook up the rap game, so anticipation for his second offering is through the roof,’ says Nas. ‘Kendrick’s an album guy and the album artist has a whole different kind of value. Kendrick is going to be one of the most important writers of our time; dude’s a rhyming animal. Whatever he does will be appreciated, but at the same time he knows he has to bring it.’”

On Macklemore and the Grammys:

“’It wasn’t really a huge deal for me,’ says Kendrick, who’s known Macklemore for over a year. ‘Macklemore deserves the accolades. That’s still my partner regardless. He probably didn’t need to Instagram the text. But what’s done is done.’”

On his own way with words:

“’My first-grade teacher flipped out because I wrote the word ‘audacity’ in a story,’ he recalls. ‘I knew the word only because I heard my auntie and uncles arguing, saying, ‘You got the audacity to take my motherf***ing drink and pour it out?!’ I learned all my words like that, so when I went to school it was in my head.’”

Derek “MixedByAli” Ali on Kendrick:

“’Watching Kendrick is like watching a master chess player playing five games at one time,’ says Ali. ‘He can do five songs in one day. He’ll start one song, then he’ll be like, ‘I’ma start on this.’ ‘I’ma go back to the old song.’ ‘I’ma start on this.’ There’s just so much going on in his head.’”

You can check out the full piece on Complex here.

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